Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Wordless(ish) Wednesday: Abandoned

During our March road trip, Vince and I saw this beautiful, huge abandoned house in Hisarya. I made him pull around–we were on a 1 way street–to let me out so that I could take some photos.

I found the side gate open and was so tempted to venture in. But I chickened out as thoughts of being thrown into a Bulgarian jail for trespassing flooded my mind.

I am still regretting it. Maybe one day we’ll visit again and I can poke around the place (and eat more of the amazing fig ice cream I enjoyed nearby).

Seems like it may have been a school at some point as there were lots of rusting slides and playground equipment scattered around the property.

It makes me sad to see such a grand house in complete disrepair.

On that note…

Happy WW!

W.

(No linkies for the next few weeks as I settle into my Alaska life and wait for some reliable(ish) internet. Sorry!)


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Eating Our Way Across Bulgaria

On our recent road trip, my husband and I made it a point to experience {devour} some of the culinary delights Bulgaria has to offer.

Trying new foods is one of the best parts of traveling; and while I love Smolyan, it certainly isn’t the gourmet capital of Bulgaria. So I was eagerly anticipating the foods we would eat while we were away.

Luckily, we were not disappointed!

A few of the highlights:

• Fig ice cream in Hisarya. Probably the best ice cream I have ever had.

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Road Trip Round Up: Hisarya and Kalofer

Originally, Hisarya (also known as Hisar) was not on our road trip itinerary. But then I got word from my friend J. that she would be there for a few weeks. We immediately adjusted our route, which wasn’t hard, as the town was really close to where we were originally spending the night anyway. And boy howdy, am I glad that we did! Not only did I get to go out to dinner with my friend and meet her group (which was a blast), but Hisarya turned out to be a really interesting little city.

This small-ish village of about 10,000 people is well known for its mineral baths and springs, which were very popular with the Romans (back then the town was named Diocletianopolis)–this is evidenced by the large amount of ancient Roman ruins and massive wall that encircles much of the town center.

Today, the 22 therapeutic mineral springs are still popular with visitors and have ensured that this small town has an income. Many of the different springs are said to heal various ailments or treat different parts of the body. We drank from one, which had warm water, that was said to be good for the kidneys. Vince found another that was meant for the eyes, so of course he was into that and splashed it all over his face and eyes. I heard that another was good for “girl parts,” but I don’t know how people go about using that one in public!

I am sure the mineral baths are awesome, but I was much more into the extensive Roman ruins. To be frank, nearly every inch of Bulgaria is home to some sort of ancient dwellings and ruins–whether they be Thraician, Roman, etc. After awhile, they stop being so impressive. But Hisarya, with its thick fortress walls, is different. On each side of the walled fortress, there is a large gate. The road to Filopopolis (Plovdiv) passed through the main gate, which was known as “The Camels.”

Within the walls, there is a Roman amphitheater, baths, dwellings, and more. They are some of the best preserved ruins I have seen in Bulgaria.

Me underneath "The Camels," the old main gate on the road from Hisarya to Plovdiv

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Road Tripping Bulgaria

Vince and I set out on our road trip across Bulgaria today. The hotel when we are staying at in Hisarya has internet, so I thought I would take advantage and get a quick post up.

Our first stop today was in Plovdiv to get the lock on the hatchback of our car fixed. All the salt, sand, and dirt from these Bulgarian roads really does a number on moving parts!

Next we stopped by Vince’s school so that he could sign his diploma. My man officially has his Masters (and is only one exam away from another!). We will likely be returning to Plovdiv near the end of the month for his graduation party.

We gradually made our way to Koprivshtitsa–home to the most preserved examples of traditional Bulgarian architecture. The town was lovely. We toured 3 of the houses which are open to visitors and explored the cemetery where some local heroes are buried. We both left vowing to return one day when the weather is warm.

We are staying in Hisarya tonight as I have a friend from Utah who is here on The World Race. We went out to dinner with her entire group. It was great fun getting to see her and meet her traveling companions. I have to give it to them, 11 countries in 11 months. Wow!

We are going to explore more of the city tomorrow so that we can see the amazing Roman ruins by the light of day. We’ll be in Veliko Tarnovo tomorrow night and Burgas for the next few nights after that. I am so looking forward to seeing the Black Sea for the first time.

Lots more info and pictures in the coming days!

W.